Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Name: Kirsten Maxwell
Occupation: Owner—Kids Are A Trip
Hometown: Tempe, Arizona
Residence: Lake Forest, Illinois
College: University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
College major: Spanish
Facebook: Kids Are A Trip
Pinterest: Kids Are A Trip
Google+: Kirsten Maxwell
YouTube: Kirsten Maxwell
Short bio: Kirsten is the founder of Kids Are A Trip, a family travel website created to inspire families to explore the world with their children. A bilingual teacher of Puerto Rican descent, she truly believes travel is an education and feels fortunate she can teach her children about different cultures as the family has explored over 25 countries. She is a Travelocity and Moon Guides Ambassador and her work has been featured in Lonely Planet, The Chicago Tribune, Bravo TV, and various national publications.
Kirsten is one of the founding members of the Facebook group Luxe Family Trips, which recommends destinations and properties for families that look to travel in a more ambitious way. A native Phoenician, Kirsten currently lives in Chicago with her husband and three boys.
How often do you fly? 1-3 times/month.
How many countries have you been to? 25+
How many continents have you been to? 2
Earliest travel memory: Camping in northern Arizona in my grandparents’ fifth wheel.
Favorite American city: Chicago.
Favorite international city: Prague.
Least favorite country: Bahamas.
I have no desire to go to: Iran and North Korea.
Friendliest people in the world: Costa Rica.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Hungary.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Nærøyfjord, Norway.
Favorite airline: American.
Favorite aircraft type: The big ones :)
Aisle or window: Aisle during the day, window overnight.
Favorite airport lounge: All of the American Airlines lounges are nice, the one at JFK is very comfortable.
Favorite U.S. airport: O’Hare.
Favorite international airport: Heathrow.
Favorite hotel: Finest Playa Mujeres.
Favorite cruise line: Disney Cruise Line.
Favorite travel credit card: Chase Sapphire Rewards.
Favorite island: Ireland.
Favorite beach: Coronado Beach, San Diego.
Favorite National Park: Shenandoah National Park.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Alinea.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Ristorante Lo Spaghettino—Paris.
Favorite airport restaurant: Tortas Frontera—Chicago O’Hare.
Favorite bar: Any rooftop bar in downtown Chicago.
Favorite fruit: Mango.
Favorite food: Bean burrito.
Least favorite food: Canned spinach.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): In the air: water.On the ground: coffee.
Favorite travel movie(s): Doctor Zhivago, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
Favorite travel show(s): House Hunters International.
Favorite travel podcast(s): Don’t have one.
Favorite travel book(s): “Ireland,” “A Year in Provence,” “Under the Tuscan Sun.”
Right now I am reading: “A Gentleman in Moscow.”
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: NatGeo Traveler, Travel + Leisure, AFAR.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: TripSavvy, The Discoverer, CN Traveler.
5 things you bring on a plane: Headphones, magazines, a notebook, a shawl/wrap, and gum.
What do you always seem to forget? Socks.
What do you like least about travel? Time away from my family.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Swiss chocolate.
Favorite travel app(s): TripIt, Hopper.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Losing our family’s two week Eurail passes, digging through all the luggage in the middle of the train office, paying for new rail passes, then finding said passes five minutes later. I may (or may not) have accused everyone else in the family of losing them and it was my fault. Thankfully, the employee was very kind and refunded our payment of the second set of tickets.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: More U.S. National Parks.
Worst travel moment: Running through Toronto airport to catch a flight, making the flight with plenty of time, only to be told the airline had a 90 minute check-in policy. They were the ones responsible for our tardiness, yet they pulled our five tickets and sold our seats. Not happy!
What’s your dream destination? Croatia (heading there in October).
Favorite travel charity: FLYTE—Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education.
Best travel tip: When flying with young kids, don’t stress about bothering other passengers. Odds are, you will never see those people again.